MIA: Selection of Marxist Writers
Marxists Internet Archive
Selected Marxist Writers
A collection of the writings of selected Marxist writers recognised as significant Marxists prior to World War Two.
Founders of Marxist practice and philosophy. Established the ground work of Marxism through an examination of the rise of capitalism, the history of society, and critique of many prevalent philosophies. Established the First International workers' organisation.
French socialist, participated in the Paris Commune, married to Laura Marx.
“The revolutionary socialists must take up again the battle fought by the philosophers and pamphleteers of the bourgeoisie; they must march up to the assault of the ethics and the social theories of capitalism.”
Helped create the IWW. Developed one of the most detailed outlines of how Socialist society should function. Believed that democratic control of all industries and services must be held by workers organised into industrial unions.
“Industrial Unionism is the Socialist Republic in the making ... at once the battering ram with which to pound down the fortress of Capitalism, and the successor of the capitalist social structure itself.”
Helped create the Russian Social-Democratic party, becoming a Menshevik after the split in the party, but he tried to keep the party united. Believed that capitalism need to grow up before socialism was possible; thus he opposed the Soviet government.
“the dictatorship of the working class is not only to overthrow the political domination of the unproductive classes in society, but also to do away with the anarchy now existing in production and consciously to organise all functions of social and economic life.”
Helped create the Irish Socialist Republican Party in 1896; served as Secretary of the Transport and General Workers Union. Executed for his leading role in the Easter Rising.
Helped create the German Social-Democracy, one of the best-known theoreticians of the Second International, and a leading proponent of Marx & Engels after their death. During and after World War I he became a pacifist.
“This system multiplies the number and the strength of the exploited ... and will finally lead to such unbearable conditions for the mass of the population that they will have no choice but to go down into degradation or to overthrow the system of private property”
Leader of the international women's movement. National Executive member of the German Social Democratic party. Long time comrade of Rosa Luxemburg, helped create the Spartacists and German Communist Party. Supported the Soviet government.
“If we want to obtain a powerful women’s organization, then we must take care of the possibility of women’s freedom of movement by fighting against the cottage industry,working hours and, above all the right to organize.”
Championed the idea of the mass strike. Tireless opponent of WWI, she renounced the German Social Democracy, helped to create the Spartacus League, and later the German Communist Party. Critical of the Soviet government. Executed by the German government.
“the task of social democracy does not consist in the technical preparation and direction of mass strikes, but in the political leadership of the whole movement. We cannot and dare not wait, in a fatalist fashion, with folded arms for the advent of the revolutionary situation”
One of the youngest but also the most active theoreticians of the Bolsheviks who made the Russian Revolution, he was also an important architect of the Bolsheviks' economic policies.
“If the proletariat wins in this long and arduous battle, the most capable groups of capitalists will have served during the period of incubation of the new economic system as capitalist experts and thus, against their will, they will have labored for the benefit of the working classes..”
Helped create the Bolshevik party. Led the Soviets to power in the Russian Revolution. Elected to the head of the Soviet government until 1922, when ill health confined him to bed. Created the Communist International. Created the theory of Imperialism, emphasised the importance of the political party as vanguard in the revolution.
“Complete victory over capitalism cannot be won unless the proletariat and, following it, the mass of working people in all countries and nations throughout the world voluntarily strive for alliance and unity.”
Bolshevik Revolutionary. Led the Workers' Opposition, which opposed party control of trade unions and believed in industrial unionism. First woman ambassador in history. Proponent of free love, she wrote extensively on women's and other social issues.
“We are surrounded by the world we have inherited from the dark and repressive past. The shackles of the family, of housework, of prostitution still weigh heavily on the working woman. Working women must put all their energies into making Russia a truly communist society.”
First Menshevik, later Bolshevik Revolutionary. As commissar of war led the Red Army to defeat the Entente in their invasion of Soviet Russia. Helped create the Left Opposition to overthrow Stalin and stop the monstrous attrocities he'd soon commit. Created the theory of the Permanent Revolution, and the Fourth International. Assassinated by the Soviet government.
“Despite the fact that a split is inevitable between the various political organizations basing themselves on the working class, the United Front grows out of the urgent need to secure for the working class the possibility of a united front in the struggle against capitalism.”
[Full Biography] (1891-1937)
Helped create the Italian Communist Party. Arrested in 1926 for his revolutionary activities and sentenced by a fascist court to 20 years imprisonment. Theorized key concepts such as hegemony, base and superstructure, organic intellectuals, and war of position.
[Full Biography] — Gramsci’s Major Works Currently Unavailable.
“If it is true that parties are only the nomenclature for classes, it is also true that parties are not simply a mechanical and passive expression of those classes, but react energetically upon them in order to develop, solidify and universalize them.”
Hungarian philosopher, writer, and literary critic. Commissar for Culture and Education in Hungary's short-lived Socialist government (1919). Helped lead the Hungarian uprising of 1956 against Stalinist repression. Created Marxist theory of aesthetics that opposed political control of artists, defended humanism, elaborated alienation. [Full Biography]
“Class consciousness is the ‘ethics’ of the proletariat ... By realising that the party is the historical embodiment and the active incarnation of class consciousness, we see that it is also the incarnation of the ethics of the fighting proletariat.”
Indian Communist, agitator, philosopher and key leader of the Comintern, played a leading role in revolutionary movements in India, Mexico, the Middle East, the Soviet Union, Indonesia and China, later a radical humanist.
“The East is awakening: and who knows if the formidable tide, that will sweep away the capitalist structure of Western Europe, may not come from there. ... the final success of the Social Revolution in Europe will depend on a simultaneous upheaval of the labouring masses of the Orient.”
West Indian, Afro Caribbean. Lucid dialectician, historian, novelist, & playwright. Stressed the importance of non-white workers to the revolutionary movement, foresaw the civil rights movement decades before it got underway.
“this independent Negro movement is able to intervene with terrific force upon the general social and political life of the nation, ... [and] is able to exercise a powerful influence upon the revolutionary proletariat.”
American journalist and labor activist. Founder of the Socialist Workers Party & Fourth International in 1938, later founded the International Socialist party. Stopped associating with Trotskyism in 1960s.
“A socialist propaganda group is not a class organization. The problem for a socialist propaganda group, is how to establish its relations with that real movement of the proletariat which is not yet socialist itself.”
German Left Communist who wrote one of the founding documents of “Western Marxism”, expelled from the Comintern. Became pessimistic about the prospects for socialism by the end of World War Two, but was later to become a supporter of Mao.
“There has been far too much of that most senseless of all discussions which aimed at deciding which particular shade of the theories of Marx, Engels, Lenin, etc, represents the most orthodox version of the Marxist doctrine.”
Peruvian writer and agitator. Self-educated. Historian of European Marxism and movements in South America, founded the first communist cell in Peru.
“In this great crisis, the proletariat is not a spectator; it is an actor. In it the fate of the world proletariat is to be resolved. From it will emerge the proletarian civilization, the socialist civilization.”
West Indian, who joined the CPUSA and shaped Comintern policy on relations between black and white workers, later a founder and teacher of the Pan-Africanist movement.
“The special task of the revolutionary unions is to bring the white workers into the struggle on behalf of the Negro demands. The Negro masses will not be won for the revolutionary struggles until the most conscious section of the white workers show, by action, that they are fighting with the Negroes against all racial discrimination and persecution.”
German Left Communist, later lived in the U.S.. Main exponent of “Council Communism” and opponent of idea of Revolution being led by a political party.
“The militants who call themselves the “Vanguard” have today the same weakness that characterizes the masses at present. They still believe that the unions or the one or the other party must direct the class struggle, though with revolutionary methods.”